Over the past 9 days or so, Fairpoint workers have been on strike for the usual things – better pay and benefits, fewer job losses, etc. Meanwhile, the company scrambles to keep its networks and services functional with the people it has. Labor disputes in the unionized part of the telecom world do happen of course, but this one may be getting uglier.
Apparently, there has been an escalation to vanadalism, with phone lines being cut in a cross box in Manchester. Fairpoint has been pointing the finger at the unions, and the unions have been declaring their innocence and intent to protest peacefully within the law. Sounds like a lone wolf’s counterproductive foolishness to me. But whichever side you take you have to really hope the situation doesn’t go further downhill. Hopefully tempers will cool and nobody’s 911 service is missing at the wrong moment.
I’ll bet Fairpoint really now wishes they didn’t buy Verizon out of the region back in 2008. Things haven’t gone as originally envisioned, to put it mildly and the strike is just the latest hurdle they’ve faced. I’ve always wondered what the attraction was in becoming a bigger ILEC in a world of copper landline declines as opposed to building nextgen infrastructure. You know, like Verizon did — expensive perhaps, but much more fun.
On the other hand, the company’s challenges have perhaps opened the door to greater competition in the future from alternative network operators and cable MSOs in northern New England.
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